Aluminum House Wiring
If your home was built between 1969 and 1976, there is a good chance you have aluminum house wiring installed. Aluminum wiring was used extensively in homes during that period of time. The reason aluminum wiring was chosen over copper had to do with price. At that time, copper prices were at an all-time high. Builders were looking for a cheaper material to use and aluminum was the best non-copper conductor available.
Aluminum wiring in itself is not dangerous, but it requires special connectors, and those connectors can oxidize. The problem with aluminum wire is the connections. When connectors oxidize, the connection becomes weak and can cause electrical hazards including fire. These are the issues with aluminum house wiring that you should be aware of.
If your home is wired with aluminum, there is a way to ‘fix’ it without replacing all the wiring in your home. Replacing all the wiring in your home can cost over ten thousand dollars, but by using a process called pig-tailing, the concerns of aluminum wiring can be resolved. This must be approved by your insurance provider.
Aluminum to copper pig tailing can be performed by a licensed electrician. The process is to replace existing outlets with new ones and to pig-tail the aluminum to copper for the connections. An outlet can be a wall plug, a light switch or a light fixture. All of these have to be replaced. The value of hiring a licensed electrician is that any other problems that might exist can be spotted quickly and fixed at the same time. Remember, this aluminum wiring is found in older homes and additional electrical issues may exist. An experienced, licensed electrician will be able to spot any other conditions quickly and provide a solution at the same time.
Most insurance companies are now refusing to insure homes with aluminum wiring. By hiring a licensed electrician to perform a diagnostic of your home electric system can be inspected if it is safe and then be legally certified as meeting all electrical codes. This in turn satisfies the insurance company’s requirements and the home can then be insured. If you do the work yourself, you can’t get a certification required by the insurance companies.
Aluminum wiring can be dangerous because of the oxidation of the connectors used to fasten wires to outlets. We encourage you to inspect your home to see if you have aluminum wiring, and if you do, to get home inspected immediately by qualified electrician. You’ll greatly reduce the chance of electrical hazard and fire, and you’ll rest easier knowing your electrical system meets modern electrical code requirements. You’ll be safer and have more peace of mind if you address this aluminum wiring issue as soon as possible.
You may not have known about the hazards of aluminum wiring before, but now that you do, make sure you check your home. Do your due diligence to make sure you and your property are as safe as they can be.